One question businesses often ask is: How to improve sales performance. The answer is usually sought in things like courses, team building, and quotas. But, often overlooked is the technology being used by reps in their day-to-day tasks like interacting with prospects, organizing data, reaching out to people, and using available insights during the sales process.
Learn more below about the role of technology in the sales process, how to improve sales performance with technology, and how businesses can effectively implement this technology today.
The Role of Technology in Improving Sales Performance
The role of technology in sales is constantly changing because the technology itself is evolving every day. With new tools, innovative use cases, and a changing digital landscape, staying ahead of the game when it comes to tech has become important for reps to continue providing the best possible experience and to stay ahead of competitors in their respective spaces.
Breaking it down, sales technology has its hands in many pies within sales and can have a large impact on improving sales performance. Here’s a quick rundown of some areas where technology helps reps improve their performance:
- Making More Use of Data: The average business only makes use of 12% of its available data. This means there are huge amounts of useful data just lying around, waiting to be analyzed. This data is key to understanding how your target audience thinks, what their goals are, when to reach out, their pain points, their challenges, and what you can give to them to make their lives easier.
- Connecting with Customers and Prospects: There are more ways to connect with people than ever before. Sales technology can help keep reps organized when balancing all the mediums available to them and their prospects and clients to connect at the right time, on the right platform, and with the right message.
- Improving the Experience of Everyone: One of the biggest benefits of new technology in sales is its ability to improve the overall experience for prospects and clients as well as the reps themselves. Streamlining processes, automating actions, and smoother communications all combine to make for a better sales experience.
- Streamlining processes: Speaking of streamlining processes, for reps, technology can take the reins of many actions like data entry, contact management, deal management, communication, and more by automating them and freeing up time for more mission-critical tasks.
The Importance of Modern Technology in the Business World
How to Improve Sales Performance with Technology
Now that we see how technology can improve sales performance, let’s look closer at the specific tools that can unlock the hidden potential within your sales process.
1. Use a CRM to Simplify Your Processes
A strong, connected, top-shelf customer relationship management (CRM) platform is a modern must for salespeople looking to grab an edge over the competition. They help simplify the sales process by helping to manage touchpoints as they come up between a rep and their lead. Simplifying tasks like data entry and organization frees up a lot of time that reps can spend on more meaningful tasks that can make an impact on their numbers.
Using a CRM can increase sales by 29%
These CRMs also integrate with existing tools like document managers and communication channels to streamline all sales tasks under one roof. The centralization of everything you need to do your job eliminates wasted time and lost production by allowing you to communicate with all your prospects in one place, having access to all your data, and removing the need to spend time searching for needed information. With a CRM, it’s all right there and ready to go.
Additionally, using a CRM to collect, organize, and report data removes much of the human error element involved in data which improves accuracy and makes it easier for salespeople to use the data in a real situation. Third-party software can also be used to provide higher context to your own data in order to make predictions based on overall trends and use a larger database to confirm information for accuracy.
The time has never been better to implement a CRM into your business, either. The global market for CRMs hit $52.64 billion in 2020, was accelerated by the pandemic’s mass digitization, and is expected to reach $128.97 billion in 2028. Basically, the CRM market is exploding and those without these platforms soon will find themselves falling behind quickly.
2. Smart Communication Tools
Communicating has never been easier or more complicated than ever before. Yes, that makes no sense, but it’s true. There have never been more ways reps can communicate with leads, prospects, and a business’ general audience, but that choice makes things more difficult if the right technologies aren’t in place. Juggling phone calls, emails, chatbots, SMS messaging, social media, video conferencing, and other forms of communication can be difficult.
This is where technology comes into play to help reps make sense of it all and take some of the manual work away.
For example, an automated chatbot can initiate a conversation and guide a prospect toward content, specific website pages, videos, or eventually to a sales rep after asking and getting answers to key questions and funneling them into a live chat or phone call.
Similarly, emails can be done smarter, too. Instead of spending huge amounts of your time writing, scheduling, following up, and analyzing your emails, you can be more efficient and effective. Imagine a world where your most routine emails are sent automatically, followed up with automatically, and stripped down to the numbers so you can clearly see what works and what doesn’t. This doesn’t have to live in your imagination; it’s technology that exists today and is being used by the people you need to beat.
This isn’t just for emails, either. This kind of smart automation can be done for your social media accounts, text messages, meeting scheduling, and more to make the process easier for you and your prospects.
3. Automating Manual and Repetitive Tasks
As we mentioned above with automated communication, automation is a very useful tool for sales reps that has a lot of uses beyond just communication. Take your time-consuming, frustratingly manual processes and use the power of automation to streamline them.
Here are some of the areas within sales where automation can be implemented to improve efficiency and effectiveness and to improve sales performance:
- Prospecting: Running searches on companies or people within industries can be very time-consuming. Automation can take information from your CRM or external tools and sites and deliver it to you in an easily digestible way so you can skip to the fun part.
- Proposals: Integrations and automation can work together to pull information and fill fields to make drafting proposals easier and faster.
- Deal Management: Log, track, and organize every touchpoint during the sales process and organize your follow-ups and next steps within an automation platform.
- Calendars: Use automation to schedule and update meetings with prospects without lifting a finger.
- Contact Management: Automatically enter, organize, and manage the prospects in your CRM so you spend less time manually entering information and more time using it to nurture leads.
4. AI and Machine Learning
AI and machine learning can be a helpful tool during every step of the sales process from first contact to deal closing. AI and machine learning can help reps make sense of and pull relevant data when building a report or creating documentation, and AI can be used in the vetting and communication process in the form of chatbots which can get the conversation started.
Additionally, AI and machine learning can be used in forecasting to use past data to determine what the future may bring. This can help to find new customers, display when deals may be close with existing prospects, and predict sales projections to help teams adjust goals and expectations.
AI is a fast-growing subset of sales technology, too. Currently, there’s a 95% growth rate projection and 64% of enterprise-level IT leaders have stated they’re looking to implement more AI into the sales process.
5. Making Use of Data and Aligning with Marketing
Many of the previously mentioned technologies come together to make this possible, but one of the most important aspects of sales technology is making data more accessible and usable during the sales process. This data can provide valuable insights into audience preferences, location, demographics, and more. To collect and report on this data, reps can make use of AI, machine learning, CRMs, and automation which all help to streamline different points in the data collection process.
Much of this data comes from a business’ marketing team (if they have one) which means it’s important that those two departments are correctly aligned, communicating, and able to share data easily. That’s where technology comes in, too.
Related Blog: How to Create Team Alignment Using Technology
Together, between the two departments and the many sales technologies, reps can actually utilize data in their decision-making and make data-driven strategies to improve sales performance.
How Can Technology Encourage Repeat Sales?
What about when you’ve locked in the sale and are now looking to delight a customer and potentially bring in repeat sales or cross-selling? Technology has you covered.
For example, CRMs can help you track customers post-deal to stay in touch with them and offer exceptional customer service experiences post-sale. Additionally, you can automate touchpoints like check-in emails, surveys, polls, and other reminders to continuously touch base.
It’s all about providing a positive experience to the customer, ensuring their needs are met, they’re happy with the service/product, and that you’re always there to give them what they need, especially if it’s more of the same or a chance to add on more sales.
Implementing New Technology Smoothly
Sometimes the hardest part of bringing in new technology is the implementation process. Training reps on best practices, ensuring everyone has the tech needed to operate these new tools, establishing procedures to ensure all these best practices are being followed, and making certain that everything is working as intended are all aspects of implementation that have the potential to create roadblocks along the way.
Luckily, experts exist to help handpick solutions and develop implementation plans to ensure that everything works all the time perfectly, so you never miss out on an opportunity due to a technological mishap. When done ineffectively, technology implementation can create headaches for reps and other users, creating costly downtime as people struggle to adjust.
This is why it’s essential to not only have a plan to adopt new innovations but also to implement them effectively. Whether it’s your own internal IT team or an outsourced team of experts like at Impact, it’s now necessary to have this kind of expertise available so that all your modern technology works as intended as quickly as possible.
So, for businesses wondering how to improve sales performance, look no further than the technology being used by your reps. Is it the best of the best with the most modern features? Without these necessary features, your competitors can offer a quicker, easier, and more pleasant experience.
The next step you can take is to examine your current sales tech stack. Where are the holes in it? Do systems work together? What could be better? You’d be surprised how often you find a solution available to fix obvious problems in your processes.
Discover what it takes to digitally transform your technology stack with Impact's in-depth eBook, Fast-Tracking Your Digital Transformation, to learn more about what your business can do to establish a path toward future success with the help of technology.